April 21st, 2009
Here is a breakdown for the NFL Western Division and specialists for the upcoming NFL Draft 2009.
1) St. Louis Rams: K – Josh Brown, P – Donnie Jones. Brown (one of the highest paid kickers) had a stellar year hitting 86% of his field goals and averaging 68 yards per kickoff. After signing a big contract and having a great first year in it; I think the Rams have one of the premier kickers in the league. Jones, the punter, also had a great year with a 50 yard punt average and a 41 yard net average. He was snubbed for the pro bowl and hope to see him there this year. I think you have another terrific tandem here that can rivals anyone in the NFL, if not the best. Don’t look for much activity here on draft day or there after.
2) Arizona Cardinals: K- Neil Rackers, P – Ben Graham. Rackers hit a impressive 89% of his field goals (long of 54) and a 63 yard kickoff average. After a dismal 07 season, Rackers got back on track and looked great at times. Graham only average 41 yards a punt and the Cardinals have all ready made a free agent move (Dec 08) by picking up Waylon Prather a rookie out of San Jose State. Prather had a stint with Saints in 2008 and was a member of the Jets and almost got into action a few times from the practice squad. Look for the two to compete in mini camp and pre-season. Unless Prather fires blanks I think the Cards are set for specialists.
3) San Francisco Forty-Niners: K – Joe Nedney, P – Andy Lee. Nedney hit 88% of field goals and had a 63 yard kickoff average. Going into his 15th season, I think Nedney is a machine and the only thing that can stop him is injury. Lee was 4th in the NFL in average at 47.8 and 9th in net average at 39 yards. Selected to the 08 Pro Bowl, Lee has established himself as one the best. He is also tied into a long term contract to 2012 which gives him 6 years for 7.1 million contract. Maybe the 49ers might pick up a camp leg. But don’t expect much.
4) Seattle Seahawks: K- Olindo Mare. P – Jon Ryan. Mare hit at a 88% clip on field goals and averaged 66 yards on kickoffs. Another good year for the 14 year vet. But wait! The Seahawks have another kicker on the roster, Brandon Coutu, a 2nd year kicker from Georgia. Coutu impressed during the pre-season and had a game-winner in Chicago. But remains on the sidelines. It reamins a unsual situation as why a NFL team would carry two good kickers. How long can it last? All I know that if Coutu is let go, the Chiefs should pick him up. Seahawks could be scared if something happend to Mare and have Coutu for insurance. Ryan, the punter, on the other hand had a great season 45 yard punt average with a 37.9 net average. If Coutu is let go early, look for Seattle to bring a combo specialist to push both.
Louie Sakoda: PK University of Utah
“King Louie” as he is sometimes called. Had a great college career. Was a finalist for the Ray Guy and Graza awards, something that has never been d0ne before. In my eyes, I never saw him as a punter. The kid can take pressure, but in the NFL you need to do that and have power. His leg strength is suspect after 50 yards. His kickoffs are not impressive and I think thats will land him out of the draft. I think a team will pick him up after the draft and bring him into camp and give him a chance to compete. But I dont expect him to stick around long unless he improves his leg strength.
Look for more from http://www.kickingsystem.com this week as there is plenty more about specialist and the NFL Draft 2009